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AIDS! Letís Make a Difference

This is a true story printed with permission. Names and places have been changed to maintain the anonymity of individuals involved. At the end of the story I will give an overview of AIDS in the Bahamas.

She was only thirty and a single mother of two lovely children, ages nine and six. Her name was Susan. Hundreds filled the little church as her lifeless body laid before us in a beautiful white casket. As I looked at her cold face lying there, I saw peace and contentment. The hours and minutes before her death at Princes Margaret Hospital she reached out and touched those around her. She told us "donít worry about me, I have peace in Jesus." How could she be at peace even when facing death? Was it always that easy for her?

Susan contracted the HIV virus ten years earlier, just about a year before she gave birth to her first child. She was devastated when she found out that her life would prematurely come to an end. This was not what she planned for. She told no one about the illness. She was afraid that she would no longer have friends and her relatives would despise her. Only those at the hospital who provided her medical care were her listening ears. How did she get the virus? Just before her death, she openly admitted that she contracted the HIV virus by having indiscriminate sexual relationships with just two men who did not use condoms. Ironically, she believed that one gave her the virus (her boyfriend) also transmitted it to two other women who died a few months earlier. What about the man who gave her the virus? He is still very much alive today. He is a "healthy carrier" proudly luring his victim into his deadly sexual fangs, infecting them with the deadly virus. He is actually a human lethal weapon who should be charged with a crimeĖhaving sex with the intent to killĖmurder.


Susan did her best to live a normal life. Regularly she attended the clinic, getting regular checkups and taking her medicine. She did not miss one day of work for more than nine years. Two years after finding out that she had the deadly virus she attended a spiritual revival in her neighborhood and became a Christian. She made a commitment to refrain from premarital sex, and from that day on, lived a dedicated Christian life becoming active in her church. She sang in the youth choir and participated in as many activities that time would allow her to do. Still, no one knew about her deadly secret. It was not until August of 1997 when she became seriously ill. Her beauty and youthful spirit began to quickly fade. Her mother, who did not know that she had the virus was wondering what was going on. After weeks of pleading in vain to Susan to tell her what was going on, she persuaded a close relative to Susan to try and find out what was happening to her. It worked. In tears, Susan wrote her mother a letter letting her know what was happening to her. Her mother was shocked to hear the news. The news went as shock waves through her family and church friends. The good thing is that no one abandoned her. In fact, the youth rallied around her and provided the necessary support and care up until her death. The church provided money for medication, foods, clothing, and assistance to her family during this time of crisis.


Susan faded away before our eyes. During the last few weeks of her life, her body became almost lifeless. Her appetite was greatly diminished. Even when she ate the food it did not stay in her stomach. Her skin hung droopingly on her skeletal frame. Her lips were constantly cracking, causing painful bleeding wounds. Her dark skin became even darker with blotches and sores. Her legs became too weak to hold up her 75-pound body weight. Her eyes were setting further back in their sockets. Her speech was severely hampered from a weak tongue. But there was one thing that was not dying. It was her faith in her Lord. It grew stronger the closer she came to death. She said "If I die, I am all right in Jesus." During those last weeks of her life, I was encouraged as I would meet her reading her Bible. Her favorite passage was: "The Lord is my shepherd . . ." Her large sunken eyes, which normally spelled death, beamed through the threat of death, with hope and peace. The day before she died, her frail facial muscles mustered a bright smile that I would never forget. My ears stood up as I heard her weak voice mutter: "Donít worry about me," she said, "Iíve found peace in Jesus." As it was normally my practice, I took her frail hand and kissed her on her forehead. Within twenty-four hours she was dead.

The church was packed on the bright summer Sunday. I could not help but shed tears as I saw her body before me. Dressed in white, the morticianís make-up artist had performed a near-perfect transformation of her face that radiated her inner peace and youthful spirit. It was as if she was transformed from death into life. What really angered me was that the "lethal weapon" was still on the loose.

We must put an end to the spread of this deadly virus. During this week the AIDS Secretariat of the Bahamas is observing AIDS Awareness Week. The theme is "AIDS! Men Make a Difference." There is something we must do to help our men become responsible sex partners and faithful husbands. Our boys are raised with the concept that they have greater sexual right and freedom than females. This belief is now reaping havoc on our families. The AIDS Secretariatís goal is to help men see that they play a major role in the prevention of all sexually transmitted diseases. " Studies from around the world show that men on average have more sex partners than women. This means that a man with HIV is likely to pass the virus on to a greater number of people than a woman, especially since for biologically reasons HIV is twice as easily transmitted sexually from a man to a woman as vice versa." (AIDS Secretariat).

We need our men to have a healthier attitude about sex. Men must realize that having sex with multiple partners increases the risk of transmitting or acquiring AIDS tenfold. No faithful married couple has ever contracted any sexually transmitted diseases. Secondly, having unprotected sex between unmarried people is always risky business. Ladies, if he does not have on a "Jimmy Hat" (Condom) then you must "skippy" out of there. Gentlemen, if she is begging you to ly with her then you need to remember that you might have to make two beds: one for the sex party and the other for the grave.

It isnít a secret. Sex is sweet, and I mean really sweet. That is whatís fooling everyone. There are so many playing around with sex to taste its sweetness and not getting sick, that many are fooled into thinking they are immortal. They can never catch the "bug." Thatís the biggest mistake one can make.

In the Bahamas, the National AIDS program has monitored the AIDS epidemic since 1983. As of December 31, 1999, there has been an accumulative total of 7,850 HIV infections, 3,500 cases of AIDS and 4,350 persons who are HIV positive. Of the 3,500 cases of AIDS 2,429 have died. These are predominantly young people in the age group of 20-40 years, the prime of life. We continue to have in excess of three hundred cases of AIDS per year. Unfortunately, too many innocent children, and sometimes infants, are getting the AIDS virus from their infected mothers and are dying prematurely.

Join us at the AIDS Secretariat this week as we seek to promote male responsibility in making a difference in AIDS prevention. Help us to educate our sons and daughters that abstinence is the only safe way to AIDS prevention (100 percent safe). Teach them that monogamy (single sex partner) reduces the risk of acquiring AIDS. Also, responsible sexual behavior is paramount with all persons--single or married. The use of condoms reduces the risk of AIDS (although not 100 percent safe). Remember dear reader, if you choose to have sexual intercourse with a stranger (anyone you are not married to), even if he or she is nice, kind, or a "Christian friend," there is a 50/50 chance that you might have to choose the color of the inside of your casket pretty soon. Do you want to take that risk? Call the AIDS Secretariat today at 242 325 5121.




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Permission is granted place links to these articles on social media like Google+, FaceBook, etc..    Permission is also granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your  personal use, friends,  seminar, or meeting handout.  You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form.   Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist.  P.O. Box CB-13019,  Nassau, The Bahamas. or  Phone contact is 242-327 1980.   
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